For the next two years, North Central students will see major improvements to their campus as the school now wants to build a new dorm that will house 229 residents.
“The new resident hall will be located just beyond these trees next to Ward Residence Hall and Patterson. So if people are familiar with the south end of campus, across from the Merner Field House and across from the football stadium, in front of the pond is where the building will be located,” said Michael Hudson, Assistant Vice President for Business Operations at North Central College.
The residence hall project is already underway as North Central is taking preemptive measures by working with the City of Naperville to relocate water mains and electric lines away from the new dorm site.
The college looked at five competing schools for design ideas and asked for student input on the new project.
“When we were trying to figure out what type of building we wanted to build, we actually did a poll of our students to see what type of housing they were interested in. Almost 90% of our students noted that they’re interested in apartment style suites or singles, so we definitely wanted to go with that,” said Sarah Avery, Director of Resident Life at North Central College. They listened, and plan on giving each room its own private bathroom and kitchenette, while the building itself will have lounge spaces on each floor, extra laundry rooms, and its own computer lab. One of the main goals is to keep upperclassmen on campus and connected with the school.
The dorm is necessary because the new $60-million Science Center construction will knock down a residence hall relocating 99 rooms. NCC hopes the state-of-the-art building will draw in more students.
After the science center design passed City Council for initial approval, North Central College appeared again in front of the Naperville Historic Preservation Commission to present new changes that knock down earlier concerns.
“Because the project is in the design and development phase, we spent some time with our architect and engineering team to try and see what additional things we can do, to go back to and respond to some of those concerns that neighbors raised,” said Hudson. “I think that positive outcome from last week is a combination of credit to their involvement as well as the college trying to be open to the process.”
Some of the modifications include taking the overall mechanical screening area down four feet and dropping the elevations around the north, east, and south ends approximately two feet to allow for more sunlight.
The new height of the building is 46-feet tall and the school is looking into how to manage the noise coming from the heating and air conditioning units atop the building.
If everything goes as planned for both locations, construction on the new dorm will start this month and finish in late summer, just in time to break ground on the science center.